HOUSTON — RFC Media creates content-driven internet radio stations that help brands and events engage deeply with their target audiences. Building and bolstering listener relationships in a way not possible with branded playlists, our stations are handcrafted and hosted live by award-winning, on-air personalities.
In addition to creating branded online radio for organizations such as NASA and retail chains including Specs Liquor and Timewise Food Stores, we also power dozens of original stations and live, on-location event broadcasts for leading internet radio portal TuneIn, complementing its massive array of aggregated stations with custom-format, themed programming.
TAMING TECH ISSUES
Plagued by frequent technical issues with our previous streaming service, we set out two years ago to find a more reliable platform. Our old provider’s service would go down quite often, and they were unable to figure out what was causing the outages. As a services company ourselves, we can’t afford to have such issues affecting our clients, as our reputation is on the line — particularly with top-tier, high-profile clients like TuneIn who require flawless performance for their listeners.
We also required a platform and vendor flexible and customizable enough to meet the individual needs of each of our clients. We run 96 stations and counting, and some of our customers have very specific requirements — for reasons as crucial as legal compliance — that may only apply to one station. Finding a streaming provider willing and able to accommodate these varying needs was essential for us.
We started researching StreamGuys’ software-as-a-service (SaaS) streaming platform based on a recommendation from TuneIn, and we’ve never looked back. We found the StreamGuys platform to be the easiest to work with and very customizable, with lots of tools we can use to meet the needs of our clients and ensure that we have the best-quality product going out.
We now deliver all of our live streams through StreamGuys’ cloud-based infrastructure, giving us the rock-solid reliability we were seeking. From myself on the technical side to our president and our COO, we all sleep better at night, with the outages we used to experience a thing of the past.
My confidence in the StreamGuys platform is reinforced by their SGalerts service monitoring software, which is part of their SGsuite of SaaS tools. SGalerts automatically notifies me of any issues affecting any of our stations — anything from our computers themselves to our connectivity — so I can resolve them quickly. That helps us meet our 99 percent guaranteed uptime commitment for our clients.
We use other StreamGuys tools to enhance our client offerings and our workflows. Most of our clients’ stations don’t have any outside advertising, as their brand-specific nature typically precludes it. However, for those customers who do want to monetize their streams with additional revenue sources, we take advantage of StreamGuys’ third-party, dynamic ad insertion capabilities, which make it easy for us to incorporate external commercials.
We use StreamGuys’ SGplayer multimedia player to deliver rich streaming experiences on select client sites. The fact that it’s HTML5-based is great, as it plays and looks great on any device. Our clients’ audiences love features like its listing of the last five songs played. We turned that feature off once on NASA’s Third Rock station during a design update, and there was a listener outcry.
We use the SGreports log processing service to get detailed listener metrics, enabling us to provide in-depth reporting to our current clients, as well as serving as a valuable resource for our sales team when talking to prospective new customers. And our most recent addition, the SGmetadata software, leverages StreamGuys’ efficient, push-based approach to dramatically reduce the bandwidth consumption — and thus cost — of delivering metadata such as song, album and artist information to our listeners.
While reliability was our primary goal in switching streaming providers, the StreamGuys platform has also given us much higher audio quality. Our old platform required a proprietary encoder, which degraded the audio. The second we turned on a StreamGuys stream at the same bitrate, we could hear a huge difference.
Beyond the platform and technology, the people at StreamGuys have been fantastic to work with. We can bring them specialized requirements, and even if they don’t have something already available to meet that need, they always make it work. Their customer service is number one, and it’s been a great relationship. Out of all of the streaming platforms and providers that we’ve dealt with, in our opinion, StreamGuys is the best.
For information, contact Timothy LaBelle at StreamGuys in California at (707) 667-9479 or visit www.streamguys.com.